TAMPA — Miami coach Al Golden went to sleep Friday night thinking Ryan Williams was going to be his starting quarterback on Saturday against USF.
But even after opting to start senior Stephen Morris — who had been nursing a bone bruise in his lower right leg all week in practice — at the last second during pregame warmups, Golden said his belief in Williams never wavered. And that confidence paid off immensely for the No. 15 Hurricanes in their 49-21 rout over the Bulls.
Morris cruised against USF's defense to open the game, completing 11 of 16 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns as Miami jumped to an early 28-7 lead.
But after an incompletion midway through the second quarter, Morris appeared to re-aggravate his injury, which forced Golden to turn to Williams off the bench as a precaution.
"(Morris) kept saying that he was good, but I felt we had enough of a lead to move on," Golden said. " ... That's how much confidence we have in (Williams). If Stephen gets dinged somewhere along the way, Ryan comes in and we're good."
Williams was more than good for Miami in relief, finishing 8-for-14 with 153 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
The 6-foot-5, 223-pound Williams made his impact for the 'Canes on his first play, connecting on a 33-yard pass to freshman wide receiver Stacy Coley to convert a third down. The Pembroke Pines native continued to shred the Bulls' secondary in the third quarter, completing a 54-yard strike to sophomore wide receiver Herb Waters that set up an 11-yard touchdown pass to Coley.
"It's just nice to know that in the back of your mind, your coach trusts you to put you in for Stephen," Williams said. "It's good for me to know that I can just go out and just play my game and not worry about whether or not the sideline trusts me."
Golden complimented Williams' ability to adjust to the situation and keep the offense running smoothly.
"He's in a groove right now," Golden said. "He's playing with a lot of confidence and the team has a lot of confidence in him. And when he comes in, he's good. And he was efficient and he did a nice job."